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Ranking second in America for completed apprenticeships for the second year in a row, Missouri is leading the way and showing the rest of the country how beneficial apprenticeships can be. Apprenticeships are a win-win for companies and workers. Employers are able to train and invest in skilled professionals and workers are able to receive on-the-job training while also receiving a paycheck.

Here in Missouri, apprenticeships are available for more than 70 different occupations in high-growth industries like health care, manufacturing, technology and transportation. Local partners like GM of Wentzville, Ozark Electric Co-Op, National Association of Insurance Professionals and University of Missouri Health Care have utilized apprenticeships to create opportunities for local workers to attain new skills and new jobs. And across the country, major companies like Sears, Hertz, Walmart and CVS Health have recognized the value of apprenticeships and now rely on them for attracting hardworking Americans who are looking to expand their skillset.

This week, I introduced a bill that would help maintain apprenticeship standards implemented by the Trump Administration. Under President Donald Trump’s leadership, the Department of Labor has established the Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program, which recognizes high-quality apprenticeship programs that fall under the Department’s Standard Recognition Entity. IRAPs provide individuals with opportunities to obtain workplace-relevant knowledge and progressively advancing skills. They include both a paid-work and educational component. With 3,388 completed apprenticeships in the 2020 fiscal year and more than 13,560 active apprenticeships, Missouri is setting an example for the rest of the country. Because of Missouri’s significant progress with apprenticeships, we are just one of four states in America to be recognized as an SRE. Hardworking Missourians and apprenticeship partners are finding great success with this program and my legislation would ensure that success continues. It would also allow Americans across the country the same, extremely worthwhile apprenticeship opportunities.

After a trying economic year, apprenticeships are an incredible way to kickstart local economies and help keep small businesses afloat. Our labor market continues to rebound, but not everyone has been able to go back to work, unfortunately. Apprenticeships are a great way for anyone seeking a job to quickly get back into the workforce and start earning a paycheck to support their families. For anyone who would like more information on starting an apprenticeship or partners seeking apprentices, please visit jobs.mo.gov. I am confident Missouri will keep leading the charge in apprenticeships and am thankful for the partners and apprentices who continue to rejuvenate our economy.

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., shares his perspective each week on national issues, including ones that affect Missouri. He represents the state’s 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office can be reached at 635-7232.

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